South Shields property boss invites Housing Minister to discuss impact of Help to Buy

KIS Lettings founder Ajay Jagota has invited housing minister Kris Hopkins to the region to discuss the Help to Buy scheme

Ajay Jagota, KIS managing director
Ajay Jagota, KIS managing director

A North East property firm founder has invited the government’s housing minster to the region to discuss the impact of the government’s Help to Buy scheme within the area.

Ajay Jagota of sales and lettings firm KIS was interviewed on three editions of BBC 1 news, giving his response to Bank of England plans to cap ‘riskier’ mortgage lending by banning banks and building societies from lending any more than 15% of residential mortgages at more than 4.5 times a borrower’s income.

A subsequent announcement that the North East is one of two areas where the government’s flagship Help to Buy has led to the most activity in the housing market led to an exchange with housing minister Kris Hopkins MP on Twitter.

Jagota has now formally written to the minister to invite him North to discuss in detail how the policy is affecting those on a local level, and what needs to happen to ensure its positive impact on regional house prices is sustained.

In the letter, he writes: “As the founder and managing director of a South Shields Sales and Lettings business which has now spread across the North East and set to achieve a turnover in excess of £1m this year, I was an early supporter of Help to Buy, even when it was unfashionable to be so.

“I believe Help to Buy has been central to the recovery of the North East housing market, which in turn was central to my decision to expand my business, employing three additional people.

“That said the North East property market continues to lag behind the rest of the country, with areas like Brighton and Waltham Forest set for annual property price rises of 31% and 26% respectively. Furthermore in some areas of the North East such as Blyth, Cramlington and Seaham, our figures suggest that house prices are continuing to fall.

“There is near constant media speculation that the government needs to take steps to “cool” the housing market, but in many parts of the North East, the market continues to need anything but cooling.

“In my view if you treat a London problem as a national one you won’t just be cooling the property market; you’ll be cooling the entire economy.”

KIS manage properties for 700 landlords from branches in Sunderland, South Shields, North Shields and Welwyn Garden City and are famous for being the first letting agents to abolish deposits, replacing them a unique landlord insurance policy.

In 2012 the company revealed expansion plans which would see it open a further nine North East branches by 2015, while also taking the brand national, growth which could increase turnover to £5m.

The company brought its innovative approach to property to the residential sales market with the creation of three jobs.

He added: “I was an early supporter of Help to Buy, and if our research suggesting North East house prices may rise by 8.4% is accurate, I think that support will have been largely vindicated. It was hugely heartening to have the BBC examine the impact of national policy on the North East property market last week, and an honour to represent the region as it did so, but if the recent progress we’ve made is to continue the government needs to talk to us too, and I really hope Kris Hopkins is available for that conversation”.

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